Distorted Harmony

Chain Reaction

Written by: BW on 01/07/2014 02:54:04

Progressive Rock/Metal can spawn from many places. Dream Theater are American and Opeth are Sweden-based, as most fans know, but it can be a bit more fun exploring the not so well known breeding grounds for this music. Let me take you to the obvious source of "The Prog" which is the city of Tel Aviv in Israel and fledgling band Distorted Harmony, who have one album to their name and have already toured with big names in the field, such as Mike Portnoy, the ex-Dream Theater drumming God. Anyhow, the genre has rubbed off on this five piece band, but is it up there with the big guns?

"Chain Reaction" is their second album to date and has a real sense of traditional intros, with a distant wave of noise beginning to build, featuring some prominent guitar notes and a devilishly simple bass whilst the electrics hold it together. Then after about a minute or two we begin to get the frantic drums along with fret work that handles that fine line between covering every part of the note spectrum and incontrollable inadequacy. Sound wise it is a promising start and it all sounds rather pleasant to begin with. "Every Time She Smiles" is, for all intense purposes, a very decent start to proceedings and ticks all the right boxes, with special mention going to the only occasional double kick drum not really overpowering the tune at all.

The real power part of the album kicks in on song two and the kick drums, which were silent and cameo appearing on the first, are all over the intro to "Children of Red" We also have on show the more Dream Theater styled distorted vocals. I'm sure there is a slight hint of robotic styled backing vocals further in, which do sound pretty cool and if you delve even further in then the screaming starts. Best thing about that though is that it is much clearer than a lot of others I’ve heard do that kind of thing, which gets points added automatically. There's almost a 30 Seconds to Mars kind of vibe about it at times in terms of the moments when things slightly calm down from the intensities, but it is certainly a nice track.

"Misguided" I do like a lot, as it has a bit more depth than what has come so far. The bass feels like it has been set free and the chord hits are more staggered and thought out. There's a feeling like the shackles are coming loose. Just when you think it is a full on track though, the slowdown begins and the soft section comes in just right, with some soothing organ noises and vocals before things build up again. If anything you do feel like things have been done by the textbook. It is the way a Prog rock album should be and it is certainly ticking the boxes.

Then we get to something which is totally not expected. “Nothing (But the Rain)" is an instrumental, almost blending some Linkin Park style into the Prog mix and it is totally out of left field. Perhaps it is in there to show off the talents of the rest of the band members when they're let loose. It may well be a mini jam session caught on track, but whatever it is it works and is a clever break in proceedings and works very well.

"As One" feels a little disappointing though, especially considering what's been on show up until now. There is no real sense of character in this one and it feels like a safe song, in that it doesn't just do what is expected, but it feels so samey that it takes a shine off of the good job the rest have done. It almost sounds like one of those generic tracks you hear on a music television channel when you're frantically trying to find something good. There's just no spark with this one and it doesn't quite grab you as much. "Hollow" and "Natural Selection" kind of feel the same. They are a little better than "As One" but again you could be mistaken for feeling that these three songs lack that special something the other songs seem to have.

"As You Go" and "Methalyne Blue" are totally different entities altogether. The first of the two is a gentle guitar track that has a slight accompaniment and not much more, but sometimes less is more and this is the case here. It seems to fill a gap that needed plugged. A nice and simple song with the strongest of angry instruments, being some electric drumkit sounds and nothing more. "Methalyne Blues" does have some standard pro stuff, but there are some nice subtleties. It also starts off slowly, but it dives into a big crescendo about three minutes in for a brief appearance before naturally petering out and heading back to the softness the start of the album gave us from track one.

As a whole "Chain Reaction” is a nice enough album. It is an above average Prog number, but when it does get predictable it does it in such a way that it detracts from the goodness the other songs show, which is sad. As a second album goes it is a commendable effort and there looks like there are enough variants there to create bigger and better things, but there isn't quite enough to make this album an essential purchase.


Download: Every Time She Smiles, Children of Red, Methalyne Blues
For The Fans Of: Dream Theater, Opeth, Porcupine Tree, 30 Seconds to Mars
Listen: facebook.com

Release date 09.07.2014
Self Released

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